How can I get more sodium in my diet in a healthy way?

“I’d like more ideas of foods that naturally contain salt instead of buying more salty food.” Sport Nutrition Clinic attendee

Sodium is an important electrolyte that is lost in sweat, and therefore athletes have higher needs for sodium than people who don’t exercise regularly. Sodium is particularly important surrounding exercise to prevent hyponatremia, or low blood sodium.

Sodium Recommendations

These are the general guidelines for sodium surrounding endurance exercise lasting longer 90 minutes.

  • 300-500 mg sodium pre-exercise
  • 500-1000 mg sodium per hour during exercise
  • 500-700 mg sodium post-exercise

Salty sweaters should aim for the top of these ranges and may need even more than this during exercise

Sodium in Foods

With the lists below you can put together meals and snacks to meet your sodium needs. The first list includes examples of foods that contain naturally-occurring sodium. The second list provides examples of foods that contain added sodium, but these foods are not excessively high in sodium, nor are these excessively processed foods.

This information comes from the USDA Database and from food manufacturer websites.

Foods with naturally occurring sodium:

-      1 cup sauerkraut, 1560 mg sodium

-      1 pickle, 569 mg

-      3 ounces wild salmon, 208 mg

-      1 cup ricotta cheese, 206 mg

-      1 cup plain yogurt, 174 mg

-      5 large olives, 162 mg

-      1 cup beets, 131 mg

-      1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, 74 mg

-      1 cup carrots, 60 mg

-      1 egg, 62 mg (mostly in the yolk)

-      1 ounce Swiss cheese, 54 mg

-      1 stalk celery, 34 mg


Minimally processed foods with added sodium:

-      2 ounces Boar’s Head deli turkey, 650 mg sodium

-      1 cup V8 tomato juice, 590 mg

-      1 Thomas’ 100% whole grain bagel, 400 mg

-      ½ cup Muir Glen Marinara Sauce, 360 mg

-      2 Van’s Naturals 100% whole grain waffle, 320 mg

-      20 Newman’s Own Pretzels, 240 mg

-      1 Rudi’s Whole Grain English muffin, 220 mg

-      1 slice Food for Life Sprouted Whole Grain bread, 80 mg

Experiment with including these foods in meals and snacks eaten before and after workouts. During workouts, sodium becomes more complex. Sport nutrition products are convenient and useful, and there are many brands that are minimally processed. If you are interested in incorporating even more natural options you can opt for making your own sport drink with unprocessed ingredients. You then have the ability to titrate the salt you add to your personal sodium needs and you can also try using whole foods, like some of the foods listed above, to meet your nutrient needs.


Recipes and Ideas

4 Ways with Sauerkraut

Traditional Salmon Salad

Salmon Cakes with Lemon Basil Salad with Goat Cheese

Curry Salmon Salad with Celery and Apples

Make Your Own Sport Drink


Hana A. Feeney, MS, RD is your sport nutrition coach with a brand-new Organic and Gluten-Free Fall Favorites e-Cookbook. As an open-minded, progressive dietitian that blends evidence based nutritional science with the principals of intuitive eating and cutting-edge functional medicine, Hana is your go-to nutrition expert. Hana specializes in sport nutrition, weight management, digestive health, fertility, hormonal health, and eating disorders. Visit to explore, read, cook and reach out!

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